Mazakon Makes

Mazakon Makes

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Two new dress patterns ordered

I have been making an effort to sew wearable stuff over the summer - and my two Monetas and my summer tops have got a lot of wear. However the time for sensibleness has passed and I have ordered two dress patterns today that I am very excited about.

In the Mandors sale I bought three yards of a gorgeous Liberty wool:

Isn't it lush? It was my only impulse purchase as everything else I bought that day I had a pattern in mind for. Autumn is my favourite clothes season, chunky tights and skirts and warmness and I thought that this would make a lovely dress that could be dressed up or down. 
So I began a hunt for a dress pattern. I have been reading lots of other dressmaking blogs and they have made me want to make woven dresses that actually fit me! My most successful dress (that I will blog about next week) is lovely and I wear it but there is something weird happening across the top of the chest. So the plan for this lovely wool is to find a gorgeous pattern, make a toile and make sure it fits properly before I make it.

After much fretting I finally decided I would make the Anna dress from By Hand London. My favourite blog is Roisin at Dolly Clacket and she has made multiple amazing Anna dresses. I love the pleats in the bodice for the boobs. I am a bit worried about if it will suit my roundy tummy figure but hopefully the toile will let me figure that out. I want to make the shorter one and I figured I would get a cheapy lightweight cotton to make my toile in and hopefully it would be wearable.
So I ordered the pattern this morning. And then when I was wandering around the sewing interweb I found this picture:

How gorgeous is this? It is New Look  6909 and it is out of print. I tracked it down from an Etsy seller and ordered it as well. A rummage around Pinterest showed up lots of cute versions of this dress and I am very, very excited. I think it will be gorgeous in the brocade material that I am going to make my sisters dress out of, remember it?

 So I am now thinking I will make a summer Anna and save my lovely wool for this Jackie O type pattern. Very excited.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Maeve's Mad as a Frog dress

The middle daughter has inherent good taste - much better than mine I suspect. This is the second time she has chosen fabric that I have thought secret bad thoughts about and it has come up trumps. I give you Maeve's Mad As A Frog dress:

Maeve's Mad As A Frog Dress
How cool is that? The frog is quite unexpected in this flowery material. We bought it a few months ago and she kept going to look at the material and have a laugh. So I positioned a big frog right in the middle of the front bodice for maximum giggles:


I had been looking for a very basic pattern to crack out a few dresses for the girls. Most of the dresses they have go by the basic shape of a sleeveless bodice and gathered skirt. My friend Judith passed on a pattern to me that her mother had got in the Prima magazine in July and didn't want and it was perfect (and free). It will be easy to customise and embellish (which I can be bothered thinking about that).

It has an invisible zip which I was feeling quite trepidatious about inserting. As it turns out I had good reason. I watched a free Craftsy class on zipper insertion and felt that I could give it a whirl. I have an invisible zipper foot and it LOOKS okish but  a) the bloody zip is too short (argh!) b) the zip is hard to take up and down - I think I sewed too close, but the invisible zipper foot meant I couldn't go further away c) I put it too high up so you can see it sticking out of the top d) there is a wee gap at the bottom where the bodice meets the skirt. So basically I need to do it again. Being impatient I wanted to get it up here anyway and will fix problems soon.

Invisible zipper: looks ok, but it's crap
She is pleased with it and wants it to be her party dress. Bless her heart, she is a mother maker's dream - her current party dress is one I made for her big sister that she refused to wear but she loves.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Retrospective: Butterick B5285

Hello all, the schools went back today in Scotland. This means the end of our summer travels (we got back from Ireland visiting family at the weekend) and also means I will be going back to work in a few weeks. The flitting around the place has meant less time for sewing, but the going back to work will affect that even more. So I would like to knock out a few projects over the next couple of weeks and then spent what little time I will have making a painstakingly perfect woollen dress for the winter. I have the fabric bought for this and have been agonising over patterns but think I have decided on one. That will be another post however. 

I am about to make my third version of Butterick B5285. This pattern has a story. I know. Exciting.

After I started dressmaking classes and had been plodding through a couple of terms it occurred to me I should look at clothes I like and try to get patterns like them to make. I had had my third baby and was still at classes and struggling through a dress I was making a mess of and I hated. The baby and I were going to a music class run by a lovely German lady who wore nice clothes. One week she turned up in a pleated skirt made in a stiff, shiny, brocade material. The weight of the material meant that it flared out at the bottom of the pleats. It looked fantastic and I wanted it.

I had decided to make myself a shirt for the next block of classes - I am not that into shirts but I thought it would be challenging. As I was up the other end of town I called into the The Dress Fabric Company. My friend Jane had been there and had been very nice about it. It is small but the fabric is lovely and the lady who runs it fabulous. If I lived on the south side I would consider becoming her BFF. She gave me advice on a shirt pattern and then, as an afterthought, I asked her about the skirt. She went rummaging through her pattern catalogues and came up with one she through would work.

I realise then how limited my imagination was. I would never have managed to find this as I was very focused on the material and didn't think about the shape of the skirt. In the mean times as well I found a very similar looking skirt in the Macy's sale when visiting a friend in Calfornia. It had the pleats, the shine and the sticky outness.
I didn't make this one - it is one I found that matched the shape I wanted.

This skirt pattern needs a wide fabric - 150cm. This wasn't that obvious from the back of the packet so I think I had a couple of false starts getting material that wasn't wide enough and so could not get the full length of the skirt in. I had bought a skirt length of a shiny gold knit material at Mandors and the pattern fit on it. It didn't have the fabric weight that I wanted but it had the shine so I gave it a whirl. It was a real nightmare to work with - slippy and impossible to make marks on using anything but tacking (slow and boring). I managed to cobble it together but then struggled with the waistband in that material. Also I was meant to but a zip in! However after I had finished my very perfect but not really worn very much shirt I brought the skirt in to show the teacher and she just suggested I put elastic in. So I did and it worked and no zip trauma - hurrah. here it is.

Shimmer shimmer

Special apology to my friend Julie at Quilty Kilty who hates embarrassing poses for blog photos

 Isn't it lovely? It is the first thing I made that I wore AND got spontaneously complimented on. It is so glittery it is the kind of thing you have to point out. I found it hard to figure out what to wear with it and ended up with that black body on the recommendation of friends. I am not sure I have the styling of it sorted out but it works for now. I have my eye on the Nettie bodysuit from Closet Case Files. This is on my long list.

Happily I also had enough material left over to make mini-me skirts for the girls which they love.
Skirt number one was a success but it wasn't the big flary out affair that I originally wanted. I started a material hunt but couldn't find any nice brocade. I even searched through curtain material but it wasn't what i wanted. It wasn't the end of the world as I did have the version that I had bought in California.

Having a rummage through my stash I found some beautiful stiff silk my mother had given me when I was home visiting one time. It was left over from her bridesmaid's dress and was the most gorgeous bluey black shiny colour. I tried the pattern on it but I didn't have enough to make the original length and so I decided to make a slightly shorter one. It was so easy to make with a stiff stable material. It came together really fast and I put in my most successful zip (forgot to photograph that bit , it is gorgeous). It is rather creased in all these photos so I might have to take some more (but I suffer from a lack of photographer, I made my poor sister take loads of me today when she popped round for a visit).

Ignore the lack of pressing, this one shows the pleats best.
 I really really love this skirt. Really love it. And I have been on the hunt to find some lovely material to make it for my sister. In The Cloth Shop next to my girls' school I saw this in a pile next to the till:

Isn't it lovely? I love the colour and the texture and the pattern. I was so in love with it that I bought five metres - two to make my sister a skirt and the rest for a dress for me (again on the long list).

That is all for tonight. I have a dress for middle daughter almost finished that makes her laugh. It needs hemmed and I need to make sure she can get into it (I think the zip is too short). I also have some dresses that I brought back from Ireland that my mother made and I am hoping (with the help of a seamstress friend) to adjust to fit me. So I will have more to write about over the next few week. 

Enjoy August people.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Another (less successful) summer top

Last year my friend Jane made two seriously cute tops out of  New Look 6871. I bought the pattern immediately but never got the time to make a top last year. So it was firmly on my to do list this year. Then I discovered the sorbetto and gave it a whirl first because I had a lovely remnant from the bargain bin that would suit it. However, I have been really looking forward to making my swingy summer top so cracked on with it with some lovely floral Liberty fabric that I had bought especially for the purpose.

Fit. My comedy tummy means that I always end up cutting out ginormous pattern sizes as I slavishly stick to the idea that it is sensible to cut out to your biggest measurement as then you can take it in. However, I have relatively narrow hips and a modest chest and my comedy tummy so everything ends of being way to big. The first skirt I made I had to take it four inches. FOUR INCHES. With the Moneta I actually cut a smaller bodice and graded it out at the waist and it worked lovely. However, with this one I was back with woven and cut out the size 16. It was ginormous. I have taken the sides in two cms but I think the yoke is still pretty big and I am not so sure about it.

To be honest, I think I love my Sorbetto so much that this loose top is just not doing it for me. There are many plus point about it. I like that the facing means that there is very little finishing of seams to be done. Like the Sorbetto the armholes are finished with bias binding so they are nice and neat.  This one may need to just grow on me.

So I have had a productive week but sadly I need to get back to real life after I get back from our latest 5 day break. I have some other projects for other people lined up. Of the top of my head I need to do:

  • A dress for middle daugher out material she picked out back in May
  • A skirt for niece out of material she picked out in Feburary
  • A skirt for my sister out of amazing material that I found. 
The skirt need a whole blog posting of its own. It is a pattern that I have made twice and I love each one. So that will be something to witter on here about while I am doing boring sorting out of the utility room in my spare time.


My sorbetto

When I saw the free sorbetto pattern from Colette I was very, very happy. I struggle with tops. I can buy dresses, skirts and trousers galore but I find tops tricky. But now I can make clothes so I can make tops. The sorbetto is a fantastic staple. It is simple and the material can do its thing. Also - it is a great way of using up the materialI have scavenged from the remnant bin at Mandors.

I had a really pretty Liberty (again) fabric that I had picked up a few months ago and I wanted to make it into a top. I had cut it out a few weeks ago but the effort of making the bias binding was putting me off fitting it. However, riding high on the 'That's a Nice Pear Moneta' I followed the bias binding tutorial on the Colette site and it worked! Well I didn't cut it right and had to sew some bits together again but I was in slap dash mode. Despite that it all turned out ok! I think it is a tiny bit short (I have a very long torso) and I will definitely make it again a wee bit longer. I can see myself making several more sorbettos. So cute.
Apologies for the sideways shot on the floor, I can't figure out in Blogger how to turn it around.
So yet again I love it. I really need to do a retrospective of all the things I don't love because I had two years of that before I managed in the last four weeks to produce things that I am sticking in them washing machine the day after I wear them so I can wear them again.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

That's a nice pear

"That's so cool" shouted the oldest daughter as I ripped off my clothes and put my Moneta No 2 on as soon as I had sewed the skirt to the bodice. She is now my favourite. My children show the traits I myself developed at an early age - praise handmade stuff a lot. My mother is a maker and I still ring her up to shout enthusiasm about the handmade cards she sends us.

Anyway, back to me. I have been on holiday in the gorgeous West Highlands of Scotland. I was hoping to make the second Moneta to take with me but real life got in the way. However Moneta No 1 was part of my camping wardrobe and got spontaneous compliments from my fellow Gaelic class members.

Hi from Skye

As soon as I had finished my first one I legged it to Mandors as my pal Rachel from Sew Bored had mentioned that they had a sale on with lovely Liberty bargain to be had. I bought some lovely pear patterned Liberty jersey to make my second Moneta, and about three other lots of material with specific projects in mind.

I have no photographers in the house so these pictures have been taken by eldest daughter standing on a chair (from below is just not a flattering angle).

Nice pears
Middle daughter getting in on the action

I love it. Really, really love it. The material is much more drapey than the last jersey I used so it sits beautifully. Also I really love the material - it is fun but still sophisticated.  This is also the most patterned material I have used and I am pleased to report my pears are all in a row. It will be worn out to the pub tomorrow night. 

I am off on my hols again on Monday and I am hoping to make a couple of summer tops - at least one Colette Sobetto which is already cut out and I just need to make the bias for it.

Ciao bellas.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Moneta

My first sewalong was a joy. A joy. It was the Colette Pattern Moneta Sewalong. I like structure and a motivator and I don't have the time to go to sewing classes any more. So when I heard about the sewalong I thought it would suit me down to the ground and I was right. Also it was about knits - something that I was way to scared to tackle. The last series of the Great British Sewing Bee put me off them rather than encouraged me by making them seem very tricky. However, I followed the advice on the sewalong and took the plunge with a stable cotton knit that I got online for £5 a metre. I went for turquoise as I love bright colours.

So here is my Moneta
I thought the back collar had turned out a bit funny but it looks ok here.

I love it. I thought I prehaps should have made the bodice longer as I have a ridiculously long torso but it worked out ok as the skirt starts on the funny hump on my tummy that my third pregnancy left. So it is actually very flattering for my funny figure (more about that later).

I made many many mistakes - including using some bizarre stitch for the bodice and the first armhole was a bit of a car crash. However, I am delighted with the end result and as soon as I finished it I ran to Mandors and bought some really gorgeous Liberty knit material. I have already cut it out and am hoping to make it up over a couple of nights as we are going camping this week and I think Moneta is a great camping glamour dress. 

My next sewalong plans are the Anise as I love the jacket and I love jackets. I will probably do it in autumn and will try to find a sale wool to make it in.


Hello world, look at what I have made.

I started this blog because I am taking part in the Colette Moneta Sewalong and I wanted to be able to share the picture of what I have created. Also, I love sewing blogs. I love seeing pictures of patterns I am interested in and then what other patterns those people have made. I love seeing what material they use and how it turns out. So I want to get involved and share as well. This will also be nice for me to see what I have made and (hopefully) encourage me to document and photograph it.

A brief bit about me: I live in Edinbugh, Scotland. I started sewing about three years ago by going to evening classes. Prior to that my only sewing experience was in school and my abiding memory of that is putting a sewing machine needle though my finger and my home economics teacher winding it out.

When I started the classes I found out I was pregnant with my third child (which is a pisser if you are making something for yourself). I spent 12 tortuous weeks putting a very simple skirt together that I couldn't even fit until I had delivered my third daughter and let my body settle down. However, I loved the classes and kept going.

I will put up a post about my back catalogue, but after making a successful dress for my eldest daughter (that she wouldn't wear because the sleeves were too fat - has she not read Anne of Green Gables?) I kept going. However it has taken me a couple of years of classes and learning patience with sewing before I am actually producing stuff that is wearable.

I have been very inspired by seeing posts about Me Made May. It has made me dig out stuff I had made and couldn't face looking at and reassess it. That first skirt which I couldn't wear in the winter as it wasn't lined and didn't work with tights was worn yesterday with bare (only slighly hairy) legs.

So my plans for this blog are:
  • Do not use exclamation marks (I am happy to follow the trend of overusing in other parts of my social media life, but not here)
  • Show what I am making and what I want to make 
  • Be a journal for me about my sewing activities
I have a busy life and my available time ebbs and flows, but I will try to do the best I can.